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Valve developers lose ban power after Dota 2 disagreement

Dota 2 is a competitive game, and things can get infuriating for players locked into a match. Perhaps a teammate isn’t listening, or you end up getting stomped by another player. Part of the game is rolling with the punches and dealing with those frustrations. One Valve employee failed to do so, and it ended up being a social media mess.

Player minijuanjohndoe posted on the Dota 2 subreddit, via Dot Esports, complaining that he had been sent to the game’s low-priority mode for an in-game disagreement, which serves as a temporary matchmaking ban. The poster and the Valve employee, Firewatch co-creator Sean Vanaman, were arguing about whether to rally around an objective or fall back and let it go. During the argument, minijuanjohndoe said Vanaman got tired of the argument, and asked “Do you know who you’re talking to? Check my profile, I’m a Steam employee.”

Vanaman himself responded to minijuanjohndoe’s post, writing:

The team looked into this case, and concluded the user clearly did not deserve the ban. Even if the user did deserve a ban however, we all think it’s clear that manually banning users is not a good idea because of how hard it is to be objective in Dota games that you are in. My mistake in this case being a sterling example. As employees, we should have no special privilege when playing Dota.

That has been the team’s informal policy in the past, but it has clearly failed in this case. It won’t remain informal going forward — manual bans like this won’t be allowed anymore altogether. And sincere apologies to user u/minijuanjohndoe.

Valve employees won’t be able to use their authority to hand out manual bans anymore, which certainly seems like a win. They’ll have to rely on the same systems as everyone else — reporting players after a game, and letting the automated system take care of things.

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